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Winter 2016: Quarterly Newsletter from Shannon Blankinship,
Duval Soil and Water Conservation District, Chairman
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Meet your Duval Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisors...
Chairman,
Shannon Blankinship

Term: 2015 - 2019
Vice-Chairman,
Patrick Bennett

Term: 2015 - 2019
Treasurer, Brian Allen
Term: 2013 - 2017
Secretary and Public Relations Chair, Dan Evans
Term: 2015 - 2019
Evelyn Coney
Term: 2013 - 2017
District Aid, Victoria Rosati
Term: 2015-2016
Affiliate Board Members
Allen Moore, retired USDA District Conservationist, Soil Scientist with 43 years of agricultural experience. 
Ed Wright, former NRCS Employee and a current Earth Team volunteer.
Sebastian Alexander, former DSWCD board Chairman, 2013 - 2015.

Growing for Profit Workshop Series is brought you by UF IFAS/ Duval County Extension
and UNF Small Business Development Center

This Fast Track series focuses on the business of farming and will feature a wide variety of topics. The goal of this series is to provide agricultural producers of all sizes, industries and stages of growth the tools to succeed at the business of farming.

The two remaining workshops will focus on:
Marketing Your Agricultural Enterprise
F
ebruary 24, 9:00 - Noon
 - Direct Marketing: Pros and Cons
- Differentiating Your Products
- Fresh From Florida
Agricultural Legal Protection
March 23, 2016

- Legal Strategy Basics: Agricultural Attorney
- Farm Insurance
- Food Safety
- Cottage Food Law

If you are interested in any of these topics, this is a unique offering for Duval County. Register now...
Learn about some of our partners.... 

Association of Florida Conservation Districts

Duval County Agricultural Extension Service

Duval County Envirothon

Farmer's Row at RAM


Natural Resources Conservation Service (Florida)

St. Johns Riverkeeper
Duval Soil and Water Conservation District
duvalsoilandwater.com
U.S. 301 North, #108 
Baldwin, Fl, 32234

(904) 266-0088


Join us at an upcoming meeting! We meet on every 3rd Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.
Duval/IFAS Extension Office 
1010 N McDuff Avenue
Jacksonville, FL 32254

Duval Neighbors,

Thank you for your continued interest in the Duval Soil and Water Conservation District! Getting feedback from the public is critical to the work we do.  

Proud of 2015!


2015 was a big year for us.  Bringing in three new board members breathed new life into the District’s activities. Enhanced technology and training is set to pave the way for an even brighter 2016. Here are the highlights:

A new WEBSITE
Long overdue, wwww.duvalsoilandwater.com allows the public to search and find us, attend upcoming meetings, view previous meeting minutes, and check out our blog for District News. See more…

We have STAFF!
Many districts in the state have paid staff. With a robust budget, it is the most important thing a district can do for effectiveness. In Duval, the District has partnered with Florida Coastal School of Law to develop a “District Aid” internship. Serving in 2016, Victoria Rosati is working to help with District Aid functions and legal requirements. Victoria has a passion for the environment and an interest in government and policy. Learn more about Victoria…

We are on SOCIAL MEDIA! 
In addition to this quarterly newsletter, we are also reaching Duval County residents and partners on Facebook. Check out our page, give us a like, and recommend us to a neighbor!

With www.duvalsoilandwater.com, the District Aid, social media, bylaws in our near future and our biggest event of the year on the horizon, the District has gotten everything in order to move full force into 2016!

Long Range Planning


Planning is important. Without knowing where we are going, it's hard to stay on track. With the help of our affiliate members from the NRCS, our December meeting focused exclusively on developing board priorities in order to help develop a 12-month and 3-5 year plan.  Here are some highlights:

Soils
  • Host more workshops, field soils training and high school workshops that focus on identifying and understanding land and soil issues                   
Conservation Education                  
  • Recognize conservation education teachers, continue to host conservation events for students like the Envirothon and Speech Contest
  • Host conservation workshops relevant to the needs and demands of citizens and private landowners           
Partnerships
  • Continue partnering with agencies, other soil and water conservation districts and conservation organizations through annual meetings, activities, workshops, and public meetings 
Conservation Technical Assistance to Land Owners
  • Ensure that producers know the services, funding and technical assistance programs available to them through our local agency partners 
Waterways
  • Develop programs, policies or working groups to help with issues like septic tank replacement, impaired tributaries, stormwater management, and erosion and sedimentation control
  • Work with other conservation districts on flooding concerns, water conservation efforts, and emergency watershed programs. 
This long-range plan is a mixture of continuing the work we already with an ambitious undertaking of new programs. After meeting with several different agencies to better understand where gaps in our work exists and where overlaps require working together, we are confident that these program areas are the best use of the board's limited time and resources. As always, we want to hear from you! Email your thoughts or concerns...
Elections are almost here!
 
Elections of Duval At-Large Groups 2 and 4, no party affiliation, will be a part of the November 2016 ballot. "A good Supervisor is someone with a desire to serve, the time to commit to District programs and events, and an understanding of the issues affecting soil, water and citizens in Jacksonville." - Shannon Blankinship, DSWCD Chairman. Interested candidates should look to the Supervisor of Elections for deadlines and filing requirements. The handbook is the next best resource. Reach out to any current board member for advice and guidance. Good Luck! 
 
Upcoming Events
  • Envirothon! On March 10, high school students will compete in a day long natural resources problem solving event with program focuses on Aquatic Ecology, Forestry, Soils/Land Use, Wildlife, and Current Environmental Issue, this year, Invasive Species. We are still looking for event sponsors to help fund students awards, lunches and sending the winning team to the statewide competition. Email to help!
  • St. Johns River Cleanup & Celebration On March 19, support any of nearly 50 cleanup sites in Duval County to help remove plastics and cigarette butts BEFORE they reach our waterways. 
  • Speech Contest On April 6, join us for our annual Speech Contest where students give an original speech on the subject "Why We All Need Trees". 
  • Area II Meeting for Supervisors in "Area II" of Florida will take place in Clay County on April 22 so that Districts can meet, collaborate, and share successes to benefit each other and work together.  
  • Earth Day On April 22, we celebrate Earth Day!  Celebrate Earth Day in a host of ways: plant a garden, research and invest in energy/water efficient home appliances, change how you maintain your lawn, or through any of these actions. Many small actions add up to major changes. That is what April 22, 1972 has proven. 
Learn more about our upcoming Speech Contest! Students from 6th - 12th grade are asked to create a 6 minute speech on the topic "Why We All Need Trees". Registered students are invited to give their speech on April 6, 2016 in City Hall for a panel of local conservation judges and the District Supervisors. The top three win a cash prize! 
We have lots of work to do! Learn about the latest updates from the board, upcoming meetings, educational opportunities and how to get involved on www.duvalsoilandwater.com
Join us on Facebook!
Copyright © 2016 Duval County Soil and Water Conservation District, All rights reserved.


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